The Scàndula Nature Reserve (SNR), both terrestrial (919 ha) and marine (664 ha), was established in 1975. The marine part of SNR includes a No-Take Zone (82 ha) where any form of fishing is prohibited, and a partial reserve, where artisanal fishing is authorized, under a number of constraints, while recreational fishing is banned.
This paper highlights the conservation success of SNR, owed to nearly 50 years of uncompromising protection and efficient management, to the unsparing dedication of wardens and curators, to a symbiosis between management, agents and independent scientists and to a highly dedicated Scientific Council. Among the most remarkable successes is the reconstitution of the osprey Pandion haliaetus population, which was almost extinct in the early 1970s, and the coexistence of a profitable artisanal fishing industry with marine biodiversity.
However, this paper also shows that these successes should not mask failures. The decree creating the reserve has not been updated; overcrowding by boats, in particular sightseeing boats, was neither anticipated nor limited, and is now out of control according to the authors. The degradation of Posidonia oceanica meadows and the recent failure of ospreys to produce fledgings are other examples shown. In addition, the authors state that the reserve is too small to be fully efficient and has not been enlarged; the Council of Europe, on the basis of the failure to respond to its long-standing requests, withdrew the European Diploma from the reserve in 2021.
It is highlighted that the SNR has constituted a sort of scientific hotbed: many major discoveries, now widely known and used, of great importance for management, originated in Scàndula. On the other hand, the authors stress that the success of the SNR could be jeopardised in the near future by uncontrolled frequentation which could destroy the very features which constitute the justification of the reserve and at the same time its attraction for tourists.
Boudouresque et al. (2021) A terrestrial and marine nature reserve in the NW Mediterranean, Scàndula (Corsica): Biodiversity and lessons from 46 years of management. Scientific Reports of the Port-Cros National Park 35: 43-181.